There is nothing that moves Atlético de Madrid and its fans more than the future of Diego Pablo Simeone, their totemic coach.
On Thursday, after the cup elimination against Real Madrid, it was the Argentine coach himself who intentionally pressed that delicate key that puts the institution and its social mass on guard.
“Knocked out of Europe, without the Cup, we have the second round of the League left to get into the Champions League and achieve the goal the club needs.
Afterwards, we will see everything that suits us all”.
With a contract until 2024, the coach's summons to a dialogue with the club to clarify his future resounded in the Santiago Bernabéu press room.
It was not coincidence.
Confirmed the impossibility of opting for a title, Simeone had prepared the message for when that harsh reality materialized.
He did it with the sadness of defeat, but also with the wind in favor of a good game that had Madrid on the ropes for eighty minutes.
His statement has opened the referendum on his continuity between now and the end of the season.
The pull of him before the fans is still the majority, but the number of detractors for the team's game and of those who consider that his project is exhausted has risen.
The internal context surrounding Simeone's attack on the club is the harshest he has encountered in his eleven and a half years on the rojiblanco bench.
Since the beginning of the course, the fights with the leadership have been constant and varied.
The frictions range from who assumed the responsibility of having put on the table the possibility of signing Cristiano Ronaldo, the continuity of Griezmann resolved with only lining up for half an hour until reaching an agreement with Barcelona, the tactical questioning and the team's game since the defeat against Villarreal in the second day of the league or the management of the João Félix case.
All interspersed with the civil war that has been experienced in the stands since the start of the course, with the south bottom without chanting the name of Simeone or that of any player until three weeks ago.
Now, the coach is once again acclaimed during matches by the ultras and they are met with disapproval from the stands.
The maximum shareholder, Miguel Ángel Gil Marín, and the president Enrique Cerezo, are now the ones rebuked, with the question of the change of shield as a backdrop.
Right now, Simeone's intention is to fulfill the contract that brings him close to 20 million euros net per year.
If the team does not qualify for the Champions League, the club can terminate it for an amount commensurate with the losses that would result from not having the necessary income reported by the highest European competition to maintain the level of spending on coaching staff and players, above of the 200 million euros.
In the case of not being able to enter the Champions League, it would not be easy for the leadership to make the decision to throw out the coach who put him back in the first wagon of European football with two League titles, one Cup and two Champions League finals.
In a club that was characterized for many years as a crusher of coaches, the dismissal of Simeone would have the vein of injustice by dismissing him on the first occasion in which he would not have achieved the minimum objective.
The club should explain to the fans with convincing and obvious arguments that the cycle of the Argentine coach has come to an end.
If there is a break, Gil Marín and Cerezo would prefer it to be by consensus and with Simeone himself admitting that, indeed, his stage as Atlético coach no longer has a long way to go.
But right now that's not his thinking.
He would not like to leave with the bitter taste of his worst season in charge of the team either.
While the time for that conversation arrives at the end of the course, with or without qualifying for the Champions League, what Simeone has done is open the plebiscite and put the ball in the club's court so that hostilities cease.
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